It is a sad fact that many patients are still afraid of their dentist, and this can mean that they put off essential dental work because they are worried about discomfort, or the sounds of dental equipment. The drill is a nightmare for some, and they may even be too nervous to visit the dentist for a routine check up. Even the regular dental patient might become nervous when they know that they need some dental work. In cases like these, our dental team may have offered you the chance to have IV sedation. This is a relatively new method of helping the patient to relax and feel less tense while the dentist does their work. It is also a great way of overcoming fears of the dentist or memories of previously unpleasant experiences.
If you dentist has offered you IV sedation, you may be worried about what that might mean for you. This is intravenous sedation, which means that the dentist will inject a sedative into your arm. For people who are nervous about dentist’s equipment, this might make them even more nervous. Most patients describe the feeling as like a small pinch in the arm. The IV sedation is slowly injected into the patient in a controlled manner. This helps to slowly administer the IV without causing any discomfort to the patient.
If you have decided to have IV sedation, then you may still be concerned about the after-effects of the treatment. The sedated patient will usually experience what is known as an ‘altered state’, where they are conscious but not aware of what is going on or any part of the treatment, and are more likely to have no memory of the procedure after waking up. These types of sedation used will make you feel relaxed, and you are likely to not notice whether you are nervous or not. You will be carefully monitored at all times and time will seem to pass very quickly, so it only feels as though ten minutes have passed, while your dentist can complete a wide variety of treatments at the same time.
After the dental work is finished, you should not drive for at least 24 hours and you shouldn’t be alone, but patients do start to feel alert after the IV sedation is finished. We always have our sedation patients arrive with a chaperone to ensure that you are safe on your journey home. You may experience mild nausea, but this will pass if you sleep and drink plenty of water.